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What garden tools do I need?

Only a few good-quality tools are necessary for a small home garden:

  • Spade or spading fork. Use to turn the ground, to turn under the organic matter, and to break up large clumps of soil.
  • Rake. Use to smooth out the soil after spading and after preparing the seedbed. It is also useful for clearing up rubbish and removing small weeds.
  • Hoe or hula hoe. Use to remove tough weeds and to cover seeds after planting; turn sideways to dig a V-shaped row for planting.
  • Yardstick or tape measure, twine, and stakes. Use to space rows evenly and layout rows in straight lines.
  • Putty knife or spatula. Handy for blocking out seedlings when transplanting and for cleaning tools.
  • Small hand sprayer and duster. Use to keep insects and diseases under control.
  • Trowel. One of the handiest garden gadgets, a trowel is useful for transplanting and for loosening soil around plants.
  • Dibble. This short, round, pointed stick is used to make holes for transplanting seedlings and to firm the soil around the plant roots.

How to care for your garden tools

Following these simple guidelines will keep your garden tools in good condition:

  • Clean tools after each use. A putty knife is good for scraping off the dirt.
  • If tools get rusty, soak them in oil for a few hours, then use a wire brush or fine sand to scrub off the rust.
  • Keep cutting tools sharp.
  • Store tools where you can hang them up out of the way to prevent damage both to you and to them. Keep tools in a dry place to prevent rust.